What can I expect when visiting Cyfarthfa Ironworks?
The ironworks are accessed from a side road off the A4102, between the Cyfarthfa Retail Park and The Church of Latter-Day Saints. As you enter the road, you will immediately see the retaining wall to your left.
An inspection of the wall reveals rusted drainpipes and a solitary arch.
Continue down the road and you will see the row of blast furnaces that remain on your left. They were constructed between 1786 and 1814 into the natural rock to form a top-down production line that minimised the amount of transportation required for raw materials.
There were originally seven furnaces; however, the second from the left was replaced with a charging ramp for a new Bessemer Converter as part of the modernisation works carried out in the 1880s. The remains of this ramp form the arch between the remaining furnaces.
Unfortunately, the remains are fenced off as they await restoration; however, you can still get a close enough view of the arches at the furnace base.
Walk around the fence to the north past the furnaces, where you will get a glimpse of the blast tunnels.
You may wish to visit Pont-y-Cafnau nearby, another surviving relic of Cyfarthfa that demonstrates the quality of iron that was produced here. The site of the Cyfarthfa Retail Park was excavated before construction started, which unearthed the remains of the coke ovens, that were situated above the furnaces. Images of the excavation are available here.
There are also two leats and the remains of the tramroad that fed the ironworks with limestone to the north of the site. We will be covering these features when we return to Merthyr Tydfil.
How long does it take to see Cyfarthfa Ironworks?
It will take you around 15 minutes to see the ironwork remains. Unfortunately, access has been limited by fencing as the furnaces await restoration. You may wish to extend your trip by visiting the Pont-y-Cafnau, another surviving relic from the ironworks.
Is Cyfarthfa Ironworks suitable for a picnic?
The environment around the ironworks is green; however, it is still very much wasteland and not suitable for an idyllic picnic. You might get away with one further up the River Taff.
How do I get to Cyfarthfa Ironworks?
If you are arriving by car, you may wish to park in the northern car park of the Cyfarthfa Retail Park; however, be wary of any terms and conditions that are enforced.
Merthyr Tydfil Railway Station is just over a mile from the ironworks and will take you around 20 minutes on foot.
Route 8 of the National Cycle Network runs past the ironworks, making it a convenient stop for cyclists.
- Cadw (2020) Scheduled Monuments- Full Report. Available at: https://cadwpublic-api.azurewebsites.net/reports/sam/FullReport?lang=&id=3118 (Accessed: 1 February 2022).